A source of authority

Michael Yon describes it:

through time, somehow the American military has managed to establish a moral authority in Iraq. It’s not the only authority, but the military has serious and increasing moral clout. In the beginning, our influence flowed from guns, or dropped from the wings of jets. Later it was the money. Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to understate.

First it is the base emotions: fear and greed. Authority is of the sort that is the paradigm behind the scandal paranoia of the left and the eternal quest to uncover misdeeds done for the purpose of obtaining money and power which they see as the only motivations for political office.

But then there is an authority of a different sort. It is the authority that comes from action, an authority based on a mutual respect. This is a true authority, one that lasts. It will be the legacy of the military in Iraq and elsewhere, but only if we allow it to be.

Much of the ‘hate America’ that some dwell on in the world community is based on envy at the power and money that the US has at its disposal. That illustrates that authority from the base emotions has its negatives. There is also the other side, the reason why so much of the world emulates the U.S., attends its schools, and finds ways to live in the country despite immigration law. This is the ‘love America’ that is so often ignored. It is a respect for the authority of standards and behavior.

Whether we allow, support, and extend this authority from respect for values, integrity, and honor is the political debate of the day. It is whether we, at home, will stand behind our expressed values and step forward with actions to make them real that will determine the future.

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